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Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I'm going to show you how to create the perfect passport photo inside Photoshop. And here's an example, this is a copy of my actual real passport that I just updated recently, along with a photo that I did prepare in Photoshop. Me, that is not the eagle. And so what I've done here is, I've worked really hard to call all the specifications that are available from travel.state.gov, which is the official passport site.
And I've also put together a template for you, this one right here. Which you can use or, you can create your own template. I'll show you how that works as well. And then we'll put this person, Colleen, inside the template you can see it's a great fit and we'll end up with this awesome looking passport photo right here that you can use either in a passport, or for some other kind of photographic identification. But here's the deal, you have got to follow my instructions, all that you need is there, but you have to do it right, it's on you to come up with that perfect passport photo.
With that in mind, here's exactly how it works. All right, here's our final work of Passport Perfection just so you can see it on screen. I'm going to switch over to this template document. That I've created for those of you who can download files from lynda.com. If you can't, I'll show you how to create your own template in just a few minutes. But in the meantime, I want to review the list of official rules. Now I called these rules form a bunch of different pages, at this website right here.
So you can see here we're at the U.S. Passports and International Travel page. There's a few different pages, at our disposal here. And you can see there's all kinds of bullet items, and then there's some other rules that are in paragraph form. Which is why, I went ahead and compiled everything I could find into a single list. The photo must have been taken within the last six months, so if you're now 51, like me, you can't be passing off a photograph of yourself from when you were 29, much as you might like to do so. The subject should appear in front of a plain white or off white background with no obvious shadows, and you can best avoid shadows by positioning the person as close as possible to that white, or off white background.
There should be no texture or anything else going on. And also you don't want to have a strobe, pointed directly at the person's face. If you're going to use a strobe, you want to pitch downward. Capture the full face and shoulders, with the subject directly facing the camera. No selfies, so, that's a big deal. You can't just hold up your phone and take a picture of yourself, they will not accept that. If you're the subject, you've gotta have somebody else take the photograph, or you can take a photograph of somebody else. Center the head within the frame. Think that's pretty obvious. The subject should have a neutral expression and both eyes open.
Well, not so neutral it looks like a mug shot, right? Which is why I've got this little comment here. Surely a hint of a smile is okay. And I've never had a problem with that, when I submitted passport photos. The photo should measure two by two inches, that is 51 by 51 millimeters, and that's exactly how big the photo needs to be, by the way. A digital image can be no smaller than 600 by 600 pixels and no larger, than 1200 by 1200 pixels. Naturally, so that you have as many pixels as possible, you want to go with this larger measurement.
But let me show you what that means. I'll go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, because this is our passport template right here. And you'll see that I set both the width and height values to two inches, and the resolution to a whopping 600 pixels print. So it's a very high resolution value but that way, we end up with 1200 by 1200 pixels, which is what we want. Crop the photos so that the head is between one and 1.375 inches, that's one and 3/8ths inches by the way.
Which translates to 25, and 35 millimeters. And I'll show you why in just a few moments. Set the eye height to between 1.125 inches, that's one and 1/8 inch, and 1.375 inches, that is 28 millimeters and 35 millimeters, from the bottom of the photo. Capture the photo in color, and save it when you go to save a final JPEG in the SRGB color space. Print the photo on matt or glossy photo quality paper.
You'll have to do that using an inkjet printer and the best paper available. And do not digitally enhance or alter the photo to change the subject's appearance in any way. Well, give me a big break. I intend to make myself look as good as I ever do. So, hence my second comment here, in other words, retouch very carefully. So, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac, and then I will go ahead and turn off all these text layers.
And notice that I've got this photo composition template layer right here. Which is all blurry and fuzzy, but what I did, and this is what I recommend those of you who don't have access to this file do as well, I went to that website there, and I'll scroll down a little bit so that I can sort of center this little image right here. And I press Alt + print screen, here on the PC. That would be Cmd+Ctr+Shift, three on the Mac if you don't have some other screen shooter. And what that's going to do is send a copy of the screen to the clipboard.
And by the way, I want you to notice they've got this photo tool here. I don't recommend you use it or anything. You can if you like, but But we're doing all the work inside Photoshop. But notice it's got a different thumbnail associated with it, different template. That's going to become important in just a moment. But you take that screenshot, you switch back to Photoshop here, create a new file by pressing, you know, Ctrl+N, Cmd+N on a Mac, and let's set the width to 1,200 pixels, make sure you're working in pixels. And set the height to 1200 pixels and set the resolution 600 pixels per inch.
And actually I lied, we want to be working in inches. So it's two by two inches, 600 pixels per inch, same dif by the way. And then click OK, and now you press control V or command V on the Mac in order to paste that screen shot you just took. And then using the rectangular marquee tool just go ahead and select this square right here. You want to select it exactly So you use the space bar to move the square around if you need to. And then once you get it aligned, release the space bar, continue dragging until you exactly select that square. And then press ctrl+Alt+j, Or Cmd+Opt+j on the Mac, in order to jump the layer and bring up the new layer dialog box, so you can name it template.
And then click okay. And now, you can select that layer one right there, and press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac because we don't need it anymore. Now select the template layer. I'm going to press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac so it can zoom all the way out. Go up to the edit menu, and choose the free transform command or press control T or command T on the Mac and drag one corner all the way up to left and drag the bottom right corner all the way down into the right. So that everything snaps into alignment and you'll see that our width and height values are about 784% each.
So they should each be the same thing, because we're working inside of a square. So press the enter key or a return key on a Mac in order to accept that change. You now have a template. Change it to the multiply mode and that way you can see through to the background image that you'll be creating in just a moment. So click on the background, and then we'll be working together from here on out, but I'm going to switch back to my template document because I want you to see that this version of the girl, who I call by the way, the Vulcan passport girl because of her eyebrows.
This version of her is slightly different from the one that appears. When you click on that start photo tool here at the website. Just so that I was getting everything as you know, right as possible, I went ahead and shot that as well and put the two images on top of each other. So you can see that the eyes and the nose and the mouth. And the shoulders in particular are slightly off from each other. She has a much longer neck in this new version. So I ended up tracing everything with pathed out lines and then brushing the paths in order to create, This template right here.
So we'll go ahead and turn the other two off. You can see I'm splitting the difference there. I'll go ahead and turn the other two off. Also, I'm not doing this thing, where we had these calligraphic, you know, brush strokes, which makes it more confusing since it's supposed to be outlines. Anyway, I'll turn that off. You can see that I've got the dimensions listed right here and if you actually select, using the rectangular marquee tool, if you drag from top to bottom from green line to green line around the woman's head, you can see that she's really about 1.235 inches, look at that head's up display. Next to my cursor.
The height is all we care about here. And that's within the range, within the one to 1.375 range. And then her eye line right there, going all the way to the bottom, is 1.195 inches. Which, again, falls inside the range. So, I just want you to see that. I also went ahead and grabbed the two people, if we go back to the site, I hate to keep switching back and forth, but notice these two people right here, hence a neutral expression maybe isn't such a great thing, you know, a little bit of a smile goes a long way. Anyway, we got these two handsome fellas, and I'll go ahead and switch back over to my document at hand, and there's the male subject and notice that he fits right inside the template.
He fits inside of it beautifully. So I went ahead and selected him and scaled him. And then there's the female sample. Now she's a little lower. She doesn't actually measure all the way up but if you select her from the top of her hair all the way down to the bottom of her chin You see that she measures 1.207 inches. Again, that falls inside the range. And if I select from within her eyes down to the bottom, she's 1.152 inches. Falls inside of the range here too. So, everything's fine. All right, so let's turn those guys off. And let's create our own passport photo.
And we'll do this, with the background selected once again, no matter how you're working. Whether you're working in your own document here make sure the backgrounds selected and that template is set to multiply or whether you're working inside my document make sure the background is selected and then go up to the file menu and choose if you're working inside of Photoshop CC the most recent version Then you want to choose the place imbedded command if you're working in prior versions of Photoshop just go ahead and choose the place command. Either way you'll get the same result, then in my case I'm going to select Coleen from this file named dot DNG which was the file that I shot using my Cannon 5D incidently so professional quality DSLR.
Click on the place button and then you will get the camera raw dialogue box coming up on screen. It's a pretty frumpy photo as you can see, Colleen also shot a photo of me, and it's just as bad looking. But that's okay, we're going to make things look terrific pretty soon. SO the first thing I'm going to do is zoom on in a little bit. And what I want to do is I want to correct for any lens distortion that I have. So, I'll switch over to the lens corrections panel. And notice, up here, that my focal length was 40 millimeters, which means I'm getting very little in the way of distortion going on, but I still want to correct for it.
So, I'll turn on Enable Lens Profile Correction and that will apply a little bit of barrel distortion, I believe. And then I'll switch over to color and turn on remove chromatic apparition. In the case of this image it really doesn't do that much, but those are two check boxes you want to turn on every time you're editing a photo here inside CameraRom. Then, switch back to the basic panel. We want to adjust the color temperature, and assuming that you shot your image against a white or off-white background and the walls here in the studio, at the Lynda.com studio.
Are nearly white. They're just a little bit of a light grey, and so in other words they're neutral and that means I can grab my white balance tool and I can just click in the background in order to automatically modify the temperature and tint values. Now I ended up coming up with a temperature value of 4850 like so, and I took the tint value up to plus 15. You can see that the image is under exposed, so I'll press Shift + up arrow a couple of times for the Exposure value, to take it to plus 1.00.
Now I'll take the Contrast value to plus 30. And I'll also figure because this is a portrait shot, I should take the Clarity value down to negative 15. Next what I want to do is take the highlights down. So I'll go ahead and reduce that highlights value to its minimum of negative 100, and then I'll take the shadows value up just to breathe some life into those shadows to plus 35. Next we need to set the black and white point, and the best way to do that is to press the alt key or the option key on the Mac, and drag the white slider triangle until you start to see clipping.
That red indicates clipping inside the image. And them I'm going to back it off so it's start clipping at about plus 50. I figure I really want to back it off to plus 35. Let's say. And then if I alter option drag the black slider triangle, you can see that we have clipping at 0. Just a little bit of clipping. So I'll go ahead and take that value up to plus 20. And that is going to give us a reduced contrast image, by the way. I'm going to have a ton of contrast when we're done, but that's going to work out well when we go to print the image because printing process generally increases the contrast.
That'll, that'll give us some wiggle room. It should look just absolutely great. I'll switch now over to the detail panel and if I press control, alt, 0 or command, option, 0 on a Mac in order to zoom into a 100%. You can see then we have a ton of noise going on here so I'll go ahead and take the luminous value up to 50. I'm guessing I have so much noise because I Underexpose the image. Now I'll take the lumens detail value down to 20. I want the color noise value to be higher than 25. Notice at zero we have a ton of noise going on inside this image.
So I'll take that value up to 50. I'll leave the color detail value set to 50, but notice that we still have some wandering sort of blobs of color We've got some purples here and some greenish looking yellows in this area and I can defeat those by increasing the color smoothness value all the way to 100 like so. Now the final thing I decided to do here inside camera was to brighten the teeth and I'm going to do that by selecting the adjustment brush Up here in the toolbar.
And notice that I've already set up some values in advance here. Both the Temperature and TInt are zero. The Exposure is plus 0.25. Shadows is increased to plus 35. I've taken the saturation value down to negative 25, and I've also increased the Noise Reduction value to plus 50. Because, we're going to be bringing out some noise in these teeth. So that's all done in advance. I've turned the auto mask check box off. The size of my paintbrush here is a mere three. And I've cranked the feather value up to a hundred. And now all I need to do is paint inside of these teeth like so.
And i'm trying to limit my painting to the interior of the teeth. As opposed to going out into the lips, or sort of the black area of the mouth. Cause, I don't want to make the inside of the mouth any brighter than I have to. And, then if you want to, sort of, paint some stuff away. Erase some of what you've done. Then just go up here to this little fly up menu and turn off separate eraser size. Make sure there's no check box there. And then, you can press the Alt key, the Opt key on the MAC, to access the eraser on the fly and paint away those little areas Alright so once you're done, go ahead and click on the okay button in order to place that image inside of your template.
And in my case it comes in way small as you can see right here. Not a problem, I'm just going to drag Colleen down so that her chin is aligned to the bottom. Of the Vulcan Passport girl's chin, and then I'll go ahead and move this little target there, can you see it? That's at the center of the x, go ahead and move it to the bottom of her chin like so. Or the bottom of your subjects chin, It doesn't have to be Colleen of course. Then I'm going to zoom out a little further here, and I'm going to press the shift and alt keys, or the shift and option keys on the Mac, and then you want to drag one of those corner handles.
While you have the shift and alt keys down, again it's the shift and option key on the Mac. And I found that at about 32.6% and change, so both your width and height value should be the same. You can turn on that chain link If you want to. And about those percentages, we have a face that's the proper size. Now of course, if you're working with a different photo, your results are going to vary, but you want a chin to be at the base of the template, and you want the top of the hair to be at the top of the template.
And of course, your subject may have more or less hair. You've got less here at the top, you're just going to have to be careful about how you decide to round off the face. Anyway, I'll go ahead and press the enter key or the return key on the Mac in order to accept that size and I'll press the control key along with the right arrow key, that would be command, right arrow on the Mac in order to more or less center the face, center Colleen's face inside of the passport girl's face. And now it looks to me like everything's working out very nicely, you might nudge things over to the left just a little bit.
Cause I want it more or less center her inside the image and that would mean, I would think, that the center of her nose should be aligned with this blue line, which indicates the exact center of the image, incidentally. Now, let's just go ahead and measure a few things here. I'll turn off that template layer and I'll go ahead and marquis from the top of her hair down to the bottom of her chin. And you can see that it's about 1.245 inches, let's say. Which falls inside of that range. So again, it's 1 to 1.375 inches.
So we're fine there. Now I'll turn the template layer off again because it's a little confusing. Now I'll select through the center of Colleen's eyes which a little off kilter, everybody's eyes are different, all the way down to the bottom. And you can see we have a height of 1.165 inches. Which again fall inside of her range of 1.125 to 1.375. So another words, we've done our work very well. Now if you're working inside of that template that I showed you how to make for yourself, I just want you to have a sense of what you should be seeing.
So I'll right click with my rectangular marquee tool inside of the image window, and I'll choose duplicate layer in order to bring up this dialogue box. And I'll change document to untitled one right there, and I'll click OK and then I'll switch over to that document, and you can see that she more or less aligns with that template girl. And you can also see how setting the template to multiply ends up working out nicely. And then of course once you're done and you want to start measuring things and make sure things work with the rectangular marquee tool you can go ahead and turn off the template layer.
And make your selections as you saw me do just a moment ago. In any case I'll go ahead and switch back to my image at hand here. We have if press the f key a couple of times to switch to the full screen mode. And I press control zero or command zero on the mac to center my zoom. We have a portrait shoot that's perfectly suited to a passport or other official form of. Identification. Thanks to our handy dandy DSLR as well as our good friends camera raw and Photoshop.
If you're a member of lynda.com then I have the ultimate follow up movie, in which I show you how to take our photograph so far in which Colleen looks a little bit tired and we're going to retouch the photo so that she looks as gorgeous as she actually is. And yet remains recognizable to the T-S-A. If you're waiting for next week's free movie I'll show you how to take a portrait shot, in this case one that I captured of my son Sam, and we're going to turn it into a gigantic mural painted on the side of a brick wall.
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